CES this year was different – especially as many exhibitors pulled out of the show, and a fraction of the usual number of attendees were present. Despite a scaled down show, Interpret observed a number of new smart home exhibitors with a large presence – another indicator that the smart home category continues to grow and attract newer players. Smart lighting, smart cameras, and smart locks were all in abundance.
“With more and more companies allocating resources to smart home products, the question is no longer if homes will adopt these products, but rather: what brands will they choose?” said Interpret’s Senior Vice President, Stuart Sikes, on returning from CES. “A greater number of attractive smart device options means consumers must choose which vendor they wish to be their provider, or they will need to figure out on their own which devices ‘play nice’ together.”
Google and Amazon both offer smart home hubs/displays that can be used to control devices from multiple vendors, as long as those vendors have included support for Alexa and Google Home. One option for consumers who value variety in their choice of device vendors is Homey, an elegant $69 device that supports a number of protocols, including Zigbee, Z-Wave Plus, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 433MHz, and Infrared. The Homey hub will support up to five devices for no charge, then requires $2.99 per month for additional devices. This hub resembles Revolv, a hub vendor purchased by Nest in 2014 (before Nest was acquired by Google).
Another innovative design is the Mui Hub Board, a wooden strip with LEDs built in – providing a non-tech interface to home technology. The Mui board combines Alexa support and touch in a unique interface that fits in with more natural home décor. It also supports Matter, the newest smart home protocol designed to provide interoperability across vendors and devices.
For those ready for Samsung SmartThings to power their home, Samsung’s Home Hub debuted at CES and looks ideal for a kitchen or a coffee table. Samsung provides users with an attractive tablet in a dock with Bixby voice control. The unit has been designed to connect and control any SmartThings device. Samsung has not yet revealed price.
Intepret’s quarterly smart home research, Smart Home Matrix™, reveals that 12% of US consumers own smart home controllers or hubs, a number on par with smart door locks.